A Brief History of St. Mary's Church

發佈日期: 1949年3月25日

St. Mary's Church, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, was born in 1911 during the time of the late Bishop Lander (Bishop of Hong Kong from 1908 to 1920).  At that time, the Eyre Diocesan Refuge was in Causeway Bay.   The Church began as a Chapel primarily to provide a centre for worship for the inmates of the Refuge.   A piece of land adjacent to the Refuge was secured from the Government at a premium of $960.00.   The cost of building the Chapel was $3,035.00, making a total initial outlay of about $5,000.00.   Bishop Lander provided $600.00, and $4,000.00 came from the Pan Anglican Fund.   Miss Bryer raised $214.00, while Mrs. J. Stodart Kennedy donated $5.00.   These donations deserve mention, for they represented great sacrifices in those days.


Through the foresight and vision of Bishop Lander, the Chapel was also used as a foundation for the eventual establishment of a Parish Church in the Eastern District stretching from Shaukiwan to Wanchai.   Two to three Chinese families living close to the Chapel got interested and became the first people outside the Eyre Refuge to be baptised.   The initial stage, as can be expected, was tough going.   No special worker was assigned to take charge of the work.   Much had to be depended upon lay and voluntary aid.   The Vicar of St. Stephen's Church, Hongkong, had to come to celebrate Holy Communion, all the way from Pokfulam.



Outbreak of World War I


The outbreak of the World War I brought additional hardship.   Attendances of the various Services of Worship were most disheartening, especially in view of the fact that the Eyre Refuge in 1914 moved over to Kowloon.   But the faith of Bishop Lander never wavered.   The Chapel was allowed to carry on inadequately subsidized.   Following the Armistice in 1918, Causeway Bay began to show more means of life and activities, and more and more residents came to settle in the area.   Membership of the Church grew in consequence.   There was a sufficient number of young children to warrant the running of a Sunday School.   This was placed in the charge of Miss A. M. Pitts.   In order to ensure that the spiritual life of this infant church would grow from strength to strength, the Rev. (now Archdeacon) Lee Kau Yan was appointed its Supervisor in addition to his duty as Vicar of St. Stephen's Church.


Then in 1920 the first Vestry was formed, for now there was a total membership of about 300.


After Bishop Lander, came Bishop Duppuy.   Bishop Duppuy not only continued to carry on the policy of his predecessor, but was also convinced that the existing Chapel was too small for the ever-growing congregation.   There were also signs that the Eastern District of Hongkong would soon grow into a very important residential section of Hongkong.   He then decided that the old Chapel must give way to a new and more spacious Church.   But this decision was not put into action until the coming of Bishop Hall.   In 1934, Bishop Hall, in order to ensure that the growth of the parish be achieved, felt that it was but logical that a full-time Vicar be assigned to take charge.   The Rev. Lee Kau Yan appeared to be the best man for the job and so he was appointed by Bishop Hall.



Donation Towards New Church


Efforts to have a new Church building gathered momentum.   The Vicar found in the late Mr. Kan Tat Choi a man who was greatly interested in the building scheme, and managed to secure from him a most generous donation of $20,000.00.   This gift served as a great stimulus to all, and a Building Committee was immediately formed, comprising the late Mr. Kan Tat Choi, Dr. Chau Wai Cheung, Miss Wong Shuet Hing, etc.   On Christmas Eve, 1937, "a new, beautiful and imposing Church of Chinese-Anglican architectural design, reborn from the old church out of its extended old site, stood elevated on a flight of granite steps, bearing a snow-white Cross, and beckoning, as it were, to her portals to all willing comers."


The total cost of the new Church was approximately $50,000.00.   Despite the munificent gift of Mr. Kan Tat Choi, the balance to be raised far surpassed the financial ability of the Church members and friends in Hongkong.   Loans were secured to complete the building.   Steps to repay the debt were interrupted by the outbreak of the War in the Pacific and the fall of Hongkong in December 1941.   Soon after the fall of Hongkong, Archdeacon Lee Kau Yan left for the interior of China to take spiritual and material care of our refugee members who had gone there from Hongkong.   Then the Rev. Edward Lee was appointed to take over St. Mary's Church.   It was not until quite recently that the whole debt of about $16,000.00 was paid off, largely through the efforts and exertions of the Rev. Edward Lee.   An Anonymous donar gave $12,600.00.



Consecration Ceremony


Now that the commitments for the building of the Church were met, steps were taken to consecrate the Church to the glory of God.   This took place, fittingly and appropriately, on Lady Day on the 25th March, 1949.   In the absence of Bishop Hall who was away on inspection in Pakhoi, Bishop Halward officiated at the Service of Consecration.   He was assisted by the Archdeacon Lee Kau Yan, Archdeacon Mo Yung In, Canon Paul Tso, Canon E. W. L. Martin, and was attended by his Chaplain the Rev. Dr. Charles Harth.   In addition, the Rev. Kong Chi Wing, Rev. John Chung, Rev. John Ogilvie, Rev. Leslie Foot, Rev. F. Myhill, Rev. Edward Lee, Rev. Lit Po Woo, and Rev. Roland Koh, the Vicar of St. Mary's Church, participated in the Service.    Mr. Kwok Man Chiu and Mr. Lam Wing Heung, being Treasurer and Secretary respectively of the Vestry, served as representatives from the Congregation of St. Mary's Church.   The Preacher on this occasion was the Rev. Edward Lee.   The Church was packed to capacity, each coming to join together to praise God and thank Him for His mercy and blessing.   After the Service, the congregation adjourned to the Parish Hall for tea and refreshments.


On the following evening at 6.00 p.m., a most inspiring ceremony was held in the Parish Hall, when Archdeacon Lee Kau Yan, assisted by the Vicar, the Rev. Ronald Koh, unveiled a tablet in the memory of the late Mr. Kan Tat Choi in appreciation for his generous donation.   A large gathering of about 200 friends and members of the Church were present.   Among those present were the Rev. Canon Paul Tso and Mrs. Tso, Rev. & Mrs. John Chung, Rev. Edward Lee and his Mother, Mrs. Lee Cheuk Sang, the Rev. Lit Po Woo, Rev. John Ogilvie, Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Charles Harth and Miss Harth, Mrs. Kwok Kwai, Mrs. Yung Hop Woon, Mrs. Lee Kau Yan, etc. etc.   The unveiling ceremony was followed by a dinner party and showing of films.



Vicarage Unbuilt


But it is to be noted that the completion of the Church building is but the mark of one phase of the development of the Church and parish.   The Vicarage is still not built.   At the moment, the present Vicar, the Rev. Roland Koh, and his family, are living in the tiny Choir robing room, into which two beds have just been squeezed in for him, Mrs. Koh and the four children.   Neither is there a kitchen worthy of its name.


The older phase that requires attention and prayer is the development of Causeway Bay into an important residential, recreational, business and social centre of Hong Kong.   Row after row of new and modern buildings are being erected or under construction.   At least one new and modern cinema, the Roxy Theatre, was recently completed the location of which is almost directly opposite to the Church.   This development points to the need for adequate equipment for parish work in the way of personnel and material.   There is now on the Church register a total membership of over 700.   Out of this slightly over 200 are on the Electoral Roll.   The students in the Sunday School total 180.   Such a large congregation demands more than the attention, time and ability of a single Vicar.


It is hoped that the time is not too far distant when adequate staff will be available to tend to the needs of the community in this rapidly developing district.

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